queenstown wellness

4 Small Changes for a Happier, Healthier You

With so many wellness pros around the world, we chatted to one special woman, Pazit Barak, who helps people from around the world enhance their health and wellbeing at her retreats in Cambodia. Here are her top wellness tips.

Tips for a Healthy New Year with Pazit Barak

Long working hours, lunch on the go and minimal sleep has become a normal way of life in today’s western society. Balancing work, family and friends as well as finding time for ourselves seems almost impossible.  However, finding time for ourselves is vital, yet somehow we put it on the back burner behind looking after everyone else. As Eleanor Brownn once said “Self-care is not selfish, you cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

When we push ourselves to the limit on a daily basis we slowly become more and more drained. We start getting aching, lethargic, can develop skin problems, anxiety and even depression.

For most of us, a demanding lifestyle is unavoidable, but the good thing is that we don’t have to change our lives completely to improve it. If you can make the time, signing up for a yoga and meditation retreat is a great way to reset and re-balance. However, the following small changes take up little time, can be integrated into your daily life and are guaranteed to result in a happier, healthier and more positive you.

 1.     Regulate your sleeping pattern

health resort spa

In Chinese medicine and throughout the practice of yoga we are taught that our bodies are at one with the universe and flow to the same natural rhythm. It is believed that when we fall out of sync with the universe and become disconnected that our energy levels drop. With this in mind, it is recommended that to shine our brightest we should rise just before the sun and sleep when it sets or no later than 10pm.

In Ayruvedic medicine it is understood that before sunrise the hours are governed by air and space, making us feel lighter and providing us with support for the day. After sunrise the hours are run by water and earth making us feel heavier and less energised.

Eight hours of sleep in total works out perfectly. If you do not feel like this is possible in one go, take an hour and a half nap in the day if you can, no more and no less. This is a full sleep cycle and will leave you feeling rejuvenated.

2. Exercise for 5 minutes a day

You’re probably wondering how 5 minutes of exercise a day could possibly make a difference, but trust us, it does. Whether you, walk, skip, stretch or practice yoga they are all great. Just make sure you are consistent and you will see a shift in how you feel both mentally and physically.

By being active each day, even for such a short amount of time, you will improve your overall fitness including cardiovascular health, burn off stress resulting in an elevated mood and even increase brain power. Make sure to pay attention to your breath for a more powerful practice and a deeper connection between the body and mind.

3.) Practice self-love

health resort spa

Every day we are mindful about how we treat others and try to always consider the outcome of our actions but, sadly, we do not tend to behave the same way when it comes to how we treat ourselves.

Today, in the West especially, we are constantly working towards the next achievement, living in competition with others and ourselves. Whether it’s a higher paid salary, a bigger house or a new car. The list goes on. We rarely, if ever, take the time to sit back and realise what we already have and how much we have already achieved.

Take a few minutes each day, at the same time if you can, to write down five amazing things about yourself. It can be anything from you inherent strengths to something wonderful you’ve achieved. Write it down, reflect on it and appreciate how great you are.

4.) Spend 20 minutes in nature

The setting of Aprivé Wellness'  January Retreat

The setting of Aprivé Wellness' January Retreat

It doesn’t have to be in the up a mountain or on a tropical beach, it can simply be your garden or the nearest park. We spend so much time in offices, houses, shops and transport we can forget how beautiful nature can be and how embracing it can benefit us.

Trees and plants are our best friends, our life source. Being amongst them cleanses our system as well as our soul. Venturing out barefoot can also help ground you as well as allow your body to absorb minerals from the earth. So get out there, connect with the universe and feel free!

We know this may not be easy to start with but give it a go for a few weeks and see how you feel. Fully embrace each change. Be consistent but if you do miss one, don’t be hard on yourself. You will still see change. You will still feel the difference. If you punish yourself you will only feel tension. Simply learn from it and change it for the next time.

By being mindful of your surroundings, taking time for yourself and being proud of who you are, you’ll feel lighter, happier and stronger. As Buddha once said “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”.

About the author - Pazit

The Temple Retreat

Pazit is a yoga and meditation practitioner and teacher as well as holistic healing therapist. She specializes in Reiki, Pranic healing and Reflexology. She is also a theatre coach and life coach at Vagabond Temple Yoga & Meditation Retreat in Cambodia.



How to Eat Healthy In Winter - 3 Easy Recipes

Simple Recipes to Supercharge Your Winter Wellness

At my retreats and workshops this winter, so many people have told me they struggle to eat healthy in winter when fruit and veggies are hard to find.

So! Here are my top 3 recipes full of super healthy foods you can make with the best seasonal veggies winter has to offer!

1. Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Soup

You don’t need heavy cream to create a great pumpkin soup! This one is super easy and jam-packed full of rich vitamins to supercharge your winter wellness.

gluten free pumpkin soup

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours (but mostly simmering. You can work on your Aprivé Wellness workbook while it's cooking!) 

You’ll Need:

  •         1/2 Pumpkin
  •         1 tbsp. Gluten-free, vegetarian stock (Vegeta is my fave)
  •         2 Sweet Potatoes
  •         1 Leek
  •         2 Potatoes
  •         6 Cloves of garlic
  •         1 Brown onion
  •         1 jar of chilli flakes
  •         Salt & pepper
  •         1 cup of raw lentils


1. Fill your kettle and boil the water. Once ready, pour the boiling water into a saucepan and add the lentils. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft. Wash and drain in a colander (no you don’t have to soak them overnight!)

2. Dice garlic, onion and leek into small pieces. Only use the leek up until the green leafy part.

3. Add a big soup pot to your stove and turn up the heat. Once it’s hot, add 2 tbsp. olive oil and the garlic, onion and leek. Add salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chilli and stir rapidly.

4. Once the mixture has browned, turn it off and set it aside while you peel and cut the other veggies into small squares.

5. Once your pumpkin, sweet potato and potato are cut, add them to the onion mixture and stir on a high heat. 

6. Add a litre of boiling water and around a tbsp. of stock.

7. Bring the mixture to the boil and let it bubble away for around 5 mins.

8. Turn it down to simmer, and let it simmer slowly for around 1 hour (you can work on your wellness goals while it’s cooking!)

9. Once the mixture is mushy and soft, squash it with a wooden spoon to make it lumpy and thick. If you prefer a smooth soup, take your hand blender to it!

10. Add lentils and garnish with a little curl of leek and it’s ready!

2. Pumpkin Salad with Feta - Your Healthiest Lunch Yet!

Pumpkin & Feta Salad

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Tip: Get up 30 minutes earlier on Monday morning and cut up pumpkin (leave skin on) and sweet potato with garlic (skin on). Cover in 2 tbsp. olive oil and add salt and pepper. Bake until soft. Then keep the mix in the fridge, ready for your lunches for the week!

You’ll Need:

  • Half a pumpkin and 2 sweet potatoes pre-roasted with garlic & salt and pepper
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 slices of feta
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 squirt of mayonnaise or a creamy vinaigrette 


1. Get all the ingredients

2. Throw them into a big tupperware container

3. Put it in the fridge at work

4. When you’re ready to eat it, give it a good shake till the feta, balsamic and mayo all mix

5. Eat!

3. Silverbeet & Ricotta Side Dish - The Super Food Winter Side Dish

If you’re a fan of meat and three veg, you can sick of the standard steamed broccoli side. Try this silverbeet dish. Silverbeet is full of iron and tons of goodies only found in dark green leafy veggies, and it’s best in winter! Perfect!

Cooking Time: 5 mins

Silverbeet recipe

You’ll need:

  • 1 pack of Silverbeet (around 12 stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tub Ricotta cheese
  • 6 Mushrooms
  • Hot sauce
  • Sweet Chilli sauce and/or Hot Sauce


1. Cut out the stalks and stems of the silverbeet so you’re left with only green leaves.

2. Cut the silverbeet into thick ribbons

3. Squash your garlic, remove the skin and dice into small pieces

4. Place a non-stick frypan onto your hottest element and warm it until it’s too hot to touch

5. Add a tbsp. olive oil

6. Add garlic and stir quickly

7. Add silverbeet and turn down the heat

8. Once the silver beet is covered in oil, add mushrooms

9. Once mushrooms are gently brown, add Ricotta

10. Stir fry for 3 minutes. The Silverbeet will shrivel up a lot, especially when coated in ricotta. Don’t worry it’s normal!

11. Serve with a lashing of sweet chilli and hot sauce. My favourite are the home made versions from Caribe or Empanada kitchen in Queenstown

Want more winter recipes to boost your health? Try this handy breakfast one below


Follow @aprivewellness for more free wellness tips & tricks!